Keeping Your Home Safe this Winter

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LACKAWANNA COUNTY -- When people are searching for a new home maybe people don't think about what it will look like when it's covered in snow.

The problem? Winter weather can cause some serious damage to your house.

So what's covered and what's not?

Michelle Avvisato is an insurance agent at the Joyce Insurance Group in Old Forge.

She said clients have been calling more than ever and filing claims related to the winter weather.

Ice damage, frozen pipes and collapsed roofs top the list.

But coverage can be tricky. Most water damage isn't covered, but when it comes to pipes, you might be ok.

"If the frozen pipes burst and did damage, they would pay for the damage that it does, but it doesn't pay for the pipes," said Avvisato.

However, you have to double check your policy and deductibles.

Some lower level DP's, or dwelling policies, don't cover everything.

DP's are available at a one, two or three level. Three provides the most coverage.

Snow and ice on the ground is bad enough, but when this stuff ends up on your roof, it's so heavy it can cause buckling, bowing, or even a collapse.

"Be wary, anything can happen. A full roof collapse could come right down through the house. It doesn't happen often. It usually happens on a flatter, lower pitched roof," said Pat Kelly, a home inspector.

The home inspector said there are warning signs before it's too late.

"An unexplained noise or a window or door that isn't working. A quick roof leak coming through the roof that wasn't there yesterday," said Kelly.

While those older homes may have a cozy feel, Kelly said they are more prone to winter damage.

"The older homes built by "Uncle Joe" are the ones you have to look out for. They have undersized framing. If they made it 100 years, they made it 100 years, but they are getting weaker as they get older," said the home inspector.

If you're running into any of these problems, like new cracks near your attic, experts said call a contractor to check it out.

Also, if it's too late and you already have damage, check with your insurance agent to see if you're covered.

But remember, you will have to pay a deductible which can be between $500-$1,000.